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Crackdown on 'infamous' staff

THE General Teaching Council is to be given more sanctions to deal with "infamous" conduct.

Current legislation only allows for teachers to be removed from the register, to have their case delayed for up to two years or to have no action taken against them. In future they could also be temporarily suspended, conditionally registered with restrictions to particular sectors or age of pupils and have a written warning against their names in the register.

This range of sanctions will also apply to cases of incompetent teachers. The register is to be expanded to include details of any disciplinary action taken against teachers, whether a teacher has been dismissed for incompetence or resigned in advance of any hearing into their competence and staff development activities.

At present the register can only include information on those considered fit to teach. Education authorities will have online access to the new register.

The Scottish Executive rejects the recommendation by consultants Deloitte and Touche in their review of the GTC that teachers in the independent sector should be compulsorily registered, although it has agreed that the sector should have one seat on the council.

The Scottish Council of Independent Schools says 90 per cent of its teachers are registered anyway, but the consultants argued that registration would reassure the public.

Ministers take the view, however, that the issue is "significantly more complex" than the consultants suggest. They say a blanket requirement for registration could restrict the provision of independent schools, particularly those fulfilling specific needs.

The consultants do not accept another long-standing GTC policy for FE lecturers to be compulsorily registered, and the consultative document makes no comment. Deloitte and Touche say FE is too diverse and the benefits of registration "are neither well understood by, nor attractive to, many FE staff".

Other proposals by the Scottish Executive are:

A right of appeal to the Court of Session by teachers trained outside Scotland against being admitted to the register, included as an insurance against a challenge under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The GTC to be given a specific duty to act in the public interest.

Power to advise local authorities and educational bodies as well as Scottish ministers.

The right to borrow money with the consent of ministers.

New representation on the council including one member nominated in each case by the CBI, social work directors and parents' organisations; heads of teacher education institutions would lose their specified places.

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